Use HHWCD safely
Feb 27, 2013 | 468 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis eloquently spelled out the benefits of the coming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day event in his “Our County” column published in Tuesday’s edition of this newspaper.

But for initiatives as important as the HHWCD — scheduled Saturday at Tri-State Exhibition Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. — no number of reminders is too many.

With this in mind, allow us to add our two cents.

And speaking of two cents, participation in the HHWCD won’t even cost Bradley County residents this much. The service is completely free of charge to individuals and families who choose to do the right thing, and to make the correct choices, when beginning some early spring cleaning.

Compliments of the Bradley County Mayor’s Office which is catching the $50,000 tab, along with a handful of volunteer partners, Saturday’s waste collection event will give residents the opportunity to properly dispose of common, everyday materials that are considered hazardous waste because of their toxicity to the environment and their natural hazards to people and pets.

Before we continue, let us offer a much-deserved pat on the back to county government’s partners in this endeavor: Santek Waste Services, which operates the landfill under contract with Bradley County and which pays for the printing of informational brochures; Cleveland Utilities, which allows its monthly billing statements to be used as messenger for these fliers; Tri-State Exhibition Center, which provides its spacious and convenient locale as a dropoff point; and Cleveland/Bradley Keep America Beautiful which brings volunteers and promotional marketing to the cause.

Participant numbers have fluctuated over the past couple of years, but on the whole local families continue to support the worthwhile program. For those who plan to make some dropoffs Saturday, here’s an important point made by HHWCD planners: Please follow packaging guidelines that are put in place for the safety of the volunteers who are unloading trunks, pickup truck beds and trailers.

According to Cheryl Dunson, vice president of marketing for Santek who coordinates the HHWCD and who serves as a KAB board member, household hazardous wastes being delivered Saturday “must” be properly labeled and packaged in cardboard boxes or plastic containers. Empty paint cans will not be accepted because they can be disposed of in regular household waste. Lead-acid batteries and oil should be taken to the Bradley County Landfill which accepts these materials throughout the year.

Dunson explained the initiative’s rationale in an interview with our newspaper, “Our goal is to provide a safe working environment for not only residents who take advantage of the event, but for our volunteers and contractor.”

Problems surfaced in an earlier waste collection day event when volunteers faced unsafe conditions caused by participants who had haphazardly thrown toxic refuse into the trunks of their vehicles or garbage cans. Anyone helping to unload was exposed to a level of risk that could have been avoided simply by use of packaging guidelines; that is, hauling in cardboard boxes or plastic containers. For those using cardboard boxes, it is also helpful to line them with plastic or old newspapers.

Additional information is available by calling Dunson at Santek at 303-7101 or KAB at 559-3307.

A few examples of what is accepted include automotive and marine products like oil and fuel additives, grease and rust solvents, starter fluids, antifreeze and gasoline; home maintenance materials like oil-based paint, adhesives, tar, stains and varnishes; home lawn and garden products like pesticides and fertilizers; electronics items like CPUs, TVs (consoles must be demolished), monitors, printers and keyboards; and miscellaneous materials like pool chemicals, medicines, aerosols and fluorescent tubes.

Items not accepted are medical and biological waste, explosives and ammunition, radioactives, business waste and others.

Again, if in doubt, check the website or call Santek.

In the history of good ideas, the HHWCD is one of the best. That’s because it’s good for the environment and that makes it good for our future.